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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: redfish

FWC Postpones Redfish Bag Limit Ruling Until November, 2011

by on Apr.08, 2011, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

Updated April 6, 2011, from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Current Regulations to remain in place.  See below for details or click on link to April Meeting Information.

Size Limit Bag Limit Remarks
Not less than 18″ no more than 27″ total length 1 per harvester per day Gigging, snatching, spearing prohibited.  Harvest in Federal waters prohibited.
Red Drum

The sometimes elusive red drum/redfish/puppy drum/channel bass

The Commission approved draft rules presented by FWC staff at the Commission meeting in February 2011.  The approved draft rules include increasing the red drum bag limit from one to two red drum in the two northern areas of Florida, applying bag limits on land adjacent to fishing sites, and creating a statewide vessel limit of eight red drum.

The Commission postponed ruling on the red drum rule modifications until November 2011.  FWC staff will review the proposed rule modifications at the November 2011 Commission meeting in Key Largo following the red drum stock assessment report.

For more information:

April Commission Meeting Information

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One Minute Fishing Lesson: Big Bend Redfish

by on Apr.05, 2011, under ONE-MINUTE FISHING LESSONS

I’ve been making some short, informative videos about fishing and boating.  Nothing very fancy and certainly not Hollywood-quality, but I’m having fun.  Enjoy!

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CCA Florida Recommends No Changes to Redfish Rules, March 30, 2011




CCA Florida strongly recommends that the Commission continue current statewide regulations of one fish bag limit, 18 – 27 inch slot, open year round season, no commercial take. CCA Florida does not support the FWC staff recommendation to create north and south management zones in order to increase north zones to a 2 fish bag limit.

­­­­­­­­­­­FWC Commissioners will take final action next week at their April 6th meeting in Havana, Florida. Please email the Commissioners and urge them not to change their successful redfish plan! marine@myfwc.com


The data from the current FWC stock assessments does not support an increase in redfish take. As shown in the FWC escapement charts regarding escapement rates on the east and west coasts from the past assessments the escapement rate has been steadily declining over the last 20 years. At the same time, as shown on the FWC’s fishing effort graphic the fishing effort on both coasts has steadily and dramatically increased. The west coast annual trips went from just under a half million trips to 2 million trips. The east coast trips went from about ¼ of a million trips to 2 million trips annually. It is clearly obvious that the long term upward trend in effort, coupled with any increase in bag limits will cause more rapid declines in escapement resulting in a failure to achieve the resource goals.

CCA Florida is also urging the FWC Commission to defer action until the new 2011 Redfish stock assessment is complete.

Florida’s redfish program does not need any changes. CCA Florida does not support any increases in bag limits. To read CCA’s full comments and recommendations please visit ccaflorida.org.

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FWC proposes increase to red drum (redfish) bag limit in northern Florida


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Wednesday, February 23, 2011,  proposed a draft rule that would raise the recreational daily red drum bag limit from one fish to two per person in northern Florida. In addition, the FWC is proposing to create three regional management areas for red drum and establish a statewide eight-fish red drum daily vessel limit. The Commission also intends to develop ways to modify the red drum off-the-water possession limit.

Rodney Smith Red

FWC proposes changing bag limit on redfish to two fish per angler

“We’ve come a long way since the early 1990s, when red drum stocks were largely depleted, but the management of red drum in Florida is turning out to be a success story,” said Commissioner Kathy Barco. “The fishery is holding its own in southern Florida, and numbers of red drum in northern parts of the state are now at a point where it’s safe to give back some fish to anglers.”

The FWC has strictly managed red drum (also called redfish, channel bass and red bass) for more than 20 years to help rebuild overfished populations. A 2008 FWC stock assessment indicates that annual management goals for red drum are consistently being exceeded in areas of northeastern and northwestern Florida.

As a result, the FWC is proposing establishment of three management areas for red drum in Florida (which are the same as established management areas for spotted seatrout) to better target its management approaches for this popular Florida fish. In all waters in the northwest management area (Escambia through Pasco counties) and in the northeast management area (Flagler through Nassau counties), the FWC proposal would raise the daily recreational bag limit for red drum from one fish to two.

The Commission is also proposing a statewide eight fish daily vessel limit for red drum, and will consider management options regarding ways to modify the off-the-water red drum possession limit.

More information regarding the FWC’s red drum draft rule proposals is available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the Feb. 23-24 meeting agenda, and a final public hearing on these rule proposals will take place in April.

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Expect Perfect Weather for Steinhatchee’s Fiddler Crab Festival, 2/18-20/11

by on Feb.17, 2011, under Steinhatchee

This weekend’s Fiddler Crab Festival in Steinhatchee promises to be great.  Lots of music, food, drink and a ‘Lots of Spots’ redfish tournament on Saturday.  I’ll be defending my title from last year!

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Capt. Tommy to Speak at Miller’s Boating Center Boat Show & Fishing Clinic, March 4-6, 2011

by on Feb.06, 2011, under Cedar Key, Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Horseshoe Beach, Ozello to Crystal River, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

I’ll be there speaking about shallow-water techniques for sea trout and redfish on the Big Bend.  I’m scheduled to speak on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6.  I’ll also be around both days to answer questions.

Miller’s Boating Center

Capt. Tommy Thompson

Learn to catch big sea trout from Capt. Tommy Thompson

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Heat Up Your February at Cedar Key, by Capt. Tommy Thompson

by on Jan.23, 2011, under Cedar Key

Take a look at the February 2011 issue of Florida Sportsman and learn my secrets of fishing Cedar Key’s inshore waters on a cold day.  The magazine is on newsstands now!

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Steinhatchee ‘Lots of Spots’ Redfish Tournament, February 19, 2011

by on Jan.21, 2011, under Steinhatchee

Don’t miss the Second Annual Steinhatchee ‘Lots of Spots’ Fishing Tournament, to be held in conjunction with the Fiddler Crab Festival.  The Festival runs February 18-20 and the tournament is on Saturday, the 19th.  For complete information on the tournament and the festival, click the Web site of the Steinhatchee River Chamber of Commerce.

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Capt. Ray Markham’s Terra Ceia Bay- West Central Florida Fishing Journal- November 29- December 5, 2010

by on Dec.06, 2010, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Some hot action in chilled water kept rods bent for anglers who took advantage of the opportunity between blows.  Toward the weekend, winds settled, seas got calm on lower Tampa Bay and in the Terra Ceia area and the fish chewed well.  Black sea bass, bluefish, trout, redfish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and snook were caught.  This kind of bite is indicative of the beginning of winter as the first fronts blow in.  Fish are preparing for the cold by packing on some body fat to help them stay warm during the chilling cold days ahead.
Trout lead the pack for fish putting on the feed bag.  DOA Shrimp and CAL Jigs with Shad tails and their single hooks made for easy release of these fish without damage to them.  Trout in the lower twenty inch range have been caught and released.  These out of season fish have been closed during November and December for years in the South Region, but scientists fail to show proof that these fish need protection at any time.  They spawn several times a year, with the largest number of fish producing roe from March through July, based on my experience cleaning fish.
About 6 years ago when trout were all but wiped out by red tide, the fishery was not closed in any special way for protection, yet trout stocks rebounded immensely in only a couple of years time.  There has been little pressure on these fish by anglers during November and December, so the amount of “protection” is minimal.  With snook now closed and trout still with closures, and with flounder not predictable, raising the limit on redfish should be out of the question, yet the FWC is actually considering it.  Anglers should let their voices be heard on the issue.  Redfish stocks are maintaining a good level with the size and bag limits and no closure that is currently in force.  In my opinion, spotted seatrout should be kept open, unless there is scientific evidence that a closure is necessary.  Science is the reason closures have been mandated for other fish, and the same should hold true for spotted seatrout.
A new lure from MirrOlure, the “Heavy Dine” gets more and more productive by the day as water temperatures continue to drop.  Lower 60’s were registered at mid-week this past week but were on a slow rise toward the weekend.  Fish hovered in the lower portion of the water column, and this new bait with it’s slow sink rate, falls to the “in your face” strike zone for most fish that we encountered.  A foot a second is the approximate rate of sink, making the countdown method of fishing the water column easy.  The first cast allow the lure to sink to the bottom, counting the seconds before it touches bottom.  Casts after that can be shortened with sink time to fish the portion of the water column without hanging the bait on the bottom, yet hanging a lot of fish in the process.
The weather on the immediate horizon will likely not be good for remaining snook stocks.  Predicted water temperatures falling into the 50’s this week can spell disaster for fish that we have left in the fishery, especially since only a couple of weeks ago we had water in the upper 70’s in some areas.  Everything will slow down with this new cold front, and an early start is not advisable.  Allow the sun to heat the water and getting out around the noon hour will enhance your opportunity to catch fish this week.  “Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham runs charters aboard the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia and can be reached for charter at (941) 723-2655 home, (941) 228-3474 cell, or via email at flatback@tampabay.rr.com.

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